The Kochs in North Carolina: Taxes and the State Budget

May 12, 2014

Over the past four years, the Kochs have poured untold sums into enriching wealthy North Carolinians and corporations at the expense of working families.

In 2013, for instance, the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity committed to spending $500,000 to accomplish their self-serving goal of tax reform that did just that. When Governor Pat McCrory signed into effect a tax reform package that year that increased the burden on middle class families, seniors and small business owners, but gave massive breaks to corporations and the wealthy, and AFP was quick to applaud it.

They claimed victory again when the estate tax was repealed entirely, yet another favor to the rich. And AFP’s North Carolina affiliate cheered on a budget that gutted funding for schools, killing 13,000 education jobs, and stripped funding for women’s preventive health care services. Funded by the Kochs, AFP even embarked on a bus tour to praise the “successes” of this budget across the state.

Thanks to the Kochs, North Carolina has become a better friend to the wealthy while leaving the middle class out in the cold.

In 2013 Americans For Prosperity Announced It Would Spend $500,000 In NC On Town Halls, Mass Marketing, And Grassroots Organizing To Support Reducing Or Eliminating Personal And Corporate Income Taxes. According to Politico, “AFP recently announced it would spend $500,000 in North Carolina on efforts that focus on town hall meetings, mass-marketing and grassroots organizing to rally support for tax reform, which would include a reduction or elimination of personal and corporate income taxes. ‘There will be more old conservative policy changes in North Carolina than in any other state this year,’ said Dallas Woodhouse, AFP’s state director. ‘We have a lot of ground to make up. We have the right mix of state leaders and governor to pass some earth-shattering reform.’” [Politico, 5/11/13]

Americans For Prosperity-North Carolina Praised The Enactment Of House Bill 998, “The Tax Simplification And Reduction Act.” According to a press release from Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina, “Americans for Prosperity, the state’s leading voice for economic freedom, praised the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory for passing and signing major tax reform legislation into law. Governor McCrory will sign House Bill 998 – the Tax Simplification and Reduction Act – at a ceremony today at 1:00pm at the State Capitol building.” [Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina Press Release, 7/23/13]

The Bill Cuts North Carolina’s Corporate And Personal Income Taxes To Match The Lowest Rates In Surrounding States. According to the News & Observer, “Under House Bill 998, North Carolina’s personal and corporate income taxes would decrease to match the lowest rates of neighboring states, not counting Tennessee, which doesn’t have a personal income tax. The move shifts the state from a more progressive personal income tax in which higher-income earners pay a larger percentage to a flat 5.75 percent rate in 2015. The corporate tax would fall from 6.9 percent to a 5 percent rate by the same year. A few scenarios show that senior citizens on retirement income and small business owners are likely to pay more in income taxes as a result of the legislation.” [News and Observer, 6/16/13]

60 Plus Association Applauded The North Carolina Legislature For Repealing The State Estate Tax. According to a press release from the 60 Plus Association, “Today the North Carolina legislature passed the Tax Reduction Act, which will immediately repeal the state’s Death Tax, as well as lowers other taxes. North Carolina was the last state in the south to have such a tax after Tennessee set their state’s Death Tax on a schedule last year for repeal.” [60 Plus Association Press Release via LexisNexis, 7/17/13]

60 Plus Worked With Americans For Prosperity, “Particularly With” North Carolina Director Dallas Woodhouse, To Repeal The Estate Tax. According to a statement by Chairman of the 60 Plus Association Jim Martin in a press release from 60 Plus, “60 Plus has worked with Americans for Prosperity, particularly with Tar Heel Sate Director Dallas Woodhouse, to reduce the tax burden on all North Carolinians. This tax reform package will do a great many things for the state of North Carolina including lower its income tax and sales taxes, but most importantly it repeals the Death Tax. I have been an opponent of all Death Taxes for more than 20 years and seeing these taxes get repealed spurs me on to repeal more of them and drive a stake through the heart of the federal Death Tax.” [60 Plus Association Press Release via LexisNexis, 7/17/13]

AFP Foundation And The Civitas Institute Launched A “Real Solutions Road Tour” To Educate “North Carolina Citizens About The Real Solutions Being Delivered By The New State Budget.” According to a press release from Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina, “In an effort to continue educating North Carolina citizens about the real solutions being delivered by the new state budget, two of North Carolina’s most recognized supporters of limited government and individual liberty will hit the road on a ‘Real Solutions Road Tour.’ The Americans for Prosperity Foundation and John William Pope Civitas Institute ‘Real Solutions Road Tour,’ will crisscross North Carolina in an effort to highlight the N.C. Real Solutions website and television advertisement that continues to air across North Carolina.” [Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina Press Release, 4/5/12]

The Budget “Includes Deep Cuts For Agencies Around The State,” Including 13,000 Education Jobs. According to the WCNC Charlotte, “The North Carolina legislature has sent its budget to Governor Bev Perdue’s desk, and it includes deep cuts for agencies around the state, including education. […] The budget cuts roughly 13,000 education jobs statewide, including nearly 9,300 in public schools.” [WCNC, 6/5/11]

The Budget Included A Provision Stripping “All Federal And State Money From Planned Parenthood” In North Carolina. According to the Huffington Post, “Republican state representatives in North Carolina voted to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the state budget Wednesday morning, ensuring that a provision to strip all federal and state money from Planned Parenthood will take effect on July 1. North Carolina is now the third state, after Indiana and Kansas, to defund the family planning provider because it also provides abortions. […] Without the $434,000 a year it usually receives in state and federal funds, Planned Parenthood says it will now have to axe its teen pregnancy prevention and adolescent parenting programs and force its low-income patients to pay out of pocket.” [Huffington Post, 6/15/11]

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation